NBA Playgrounds

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NBA Playgrounds
NBA Playgrounds logo.png
Developer(s)Saber Interactive
Publisher(s)Mad Dog Games
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
ReleaseMay 9, 2017
Mode(s)Single-player, Multiplayer

NBA Playgrounds is a basketball video game for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One that was released on May 9, 2017.[1]

Developed by Saber Interactive, and officially licensed by the National Basketball Association, the game is set up as an arcade-style basketball game bearing similarity to previous games such as the NBA Jam and NBA Street series.


Players fill up their roster of players by playing different modes to earn packs. Tournament mode is when players play four games with challenges on each court. Once the tournament is completed players unlock the court and a gold pack. There is an online mode and exhibition, where players can play to upgrade from bronze to silver and gold. Players can also get a pack for leveling up both their offline level and their online level.


NBA Playgrounds includes a roster of both active and former NBA stars; both local and online multiplayer modes are included in the game, although local mode requires an internet connection to function on PS4.[2] The game has a digital-only distribution.

The online feature was not ready at launch day for the Nintendo Switch version due to technical issues, with a promise from the developer that it would be ready in a few days.[3] Despite that, two weeks had passed before the developer was questioned on Twitter about the online status of the Nintendo Switch version; without Twitter users receiving a definitive answer.[4] However, the developer later told Nintendo Switch players to expect a "huge announcement" on June 1.[5] Ultimately, the developer announced anyone who purchases NBA Playgrounds on the Nintendo Switch prior to implementing the online feature will receive a complimentary copy of the upcoming beat 'em up title Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn as compensation for their continued patience, re-iterating the online feature is coming soon.[6] Online features finally arrived on the Nintendo Switch with the next update in the following month, which also added extra free content including 15 new NBA stars on all platforms.[7] Additional free content is expected later in the summer.[8]

On October 4, 2017, Saber Interactive announced and launched the game's first premium DLC package, titled "Hot 'N Frosty." The DLC introduces three new courts for players to compete on: Rio de Janeiro, Toronto, and Miami. Each playground comes with its own tournament and single-player mode. Hot N' Frosty also contains eight new rookies for players to use.[9]

On January 4, 2018, Saber Interactive launched NBA Playgrounds: Enhanced Edition for the Nintendo Switch, superseding the original launch version on the Nintendo eShop. The Enhanced Edition includes all previous game updates, plus new content including 100 additional NBA players (such as Tim Duncan, Julius Erving, Steve Nash, and Manu Ginóbili) and a three-point shooting mode. Additionally, the Enhanced Edition includes various technical improvements and fixes, such as revamping the game's previously exploitable rebound system and improved online. Because of this, the Enhanced Edition is a separate download rather than a patch for the launch version. Players who purchased the launch version can download the Enhanced Edition for free, and can transfer their save files to it before deleting the old version. Saber Interactive celebrated the launch of the Enhanced Edition with a 50% sale.[10]


Aggregate score
Metacritic(PS4) 68/100[11]
(PC) 67/100[12]
(XONE) 66/100[13]
(NS) 63/100[14]
Review scores
Nintendo Life7/10 stars[17]

NBA Playgrounds received a largely mixed critical reception, earning a 6/10 from GameSpot[15] and a 7.4/10 from IGN.[16]

Nintendo Life gave the title a 7/10, praising the online and local multiplayer gameplay, but criticizing the slow pace of the single-player mode and poor odds of getting new player card packs, in spite of the fact the game is continually patched. They recommend the game on the Nintendo Switch only because it is the only basketball title available thus far for the platform at the time.[17]

By July 2017, the game sold 500,000 units across all platforms.[8] It was nominated for "Game, Original Sports" at the National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards.[18][19]


A sequel, NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 to be published by 2K Sports was announced in July 2018[20]

Before it was NBA 2K Playgrounds 2, it was simply called NBA Playgrounds 2 before 2K Sports published it. In May 2018, NBA Playgrounds 2 was delayed which caused the game to miss its original release date of May 22, 2018. The release date was later pushed back to October 15, 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.


  1. ^ Gartenberg, Chaim (April 6, 2017). "If you miss NBA Jam and NBA Street, take a look at NBA Playgrounds". The Verge. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  2. ^ "Official NBA Playgrounds Forums". Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  3. ^ Whitehead, Thomas (May 4, 2017). "NBA Playgrounds Features Full Online Play on Switch, A Few Days After Launch". Nintendo Life. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  4. ^ Whitehead, Thomas (May 22, 2017). "There's Still No Date for the All-Important NBA Playgrounds Update on Switch eShop". Nintendo Life. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
  5. ^ Whitehead, Thomas (May 27, 2017). "NBA Playgrounds Developer Promises a 'Huge Announcement' on 1st June". Nintendo Life. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
  6. ^ Whitehead, Thomas (June 2, 2017). "NBA Playgrounds Switch Early Adopters to Get Free Copy of Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn". Nintendo Life. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
  7. ^ Whitehead, Thomas (July 10, 2017). "The Nintendo Switch Update for NBA Playgrounds is Now Live". Nintendo Life. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  8. ^ a b Vogel, Mitch (July 25, 2017). "More Free Content Is on the Way to NBA Playgrounds". Nintendo Life. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  9. ^ Treese, Tyler (October 4, 2017). "New NBA Playgrounds Update Launches Alongside Paid DLC". PlayStation LifeStyle. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  10. ^ Reseigh-Lincoln, Dom (January 4, 2018). "NBA Playgrounds Ups Its Game With New Enhanced Edition Update". Nintendo Life. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  11. ^ "NBA Playgrounds for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  12. ^ "NBA Playgrounds for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  13. ^ "NBA Playgrounds for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  14. ^ "NBA Playgrounds for Nintendo Switch Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  15. ^ a b Hester, Blake (May 11, 2017). "A shoot and a miss". GameSpot. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  16. ^ a b Becotte, Chase (May 9, 2017). "NBA Playgrounds Review". IGN. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  17. ^ a b Bowling, Steve (July 28, 2017). "Review: NBA Playgrounds". Nintendo Life. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  18. ^ "Nominee List for 2017". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. February 9, 2018. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  19. ^ "Horizon wins 7; Mario GOTY". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. March 13, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  20. ^